Are you going to any holiday parties this year? Whether you enjoy them or dread them, here are a few tips to think about before going:

  • Ask, “Why am I going? Who do I want to meet?” Use LinkedIn and Google to look up people who are attending.
  • If it is mandatory you go, but you don’t really want to, look for ways it might still be worthwhile. If your attitude says, “I don’t want to be here,” people sense that and avoid talking to you, making it even more unpleasant.
  • Go with someone else to feel more at ease. Agree ahead of time to not stay together during the whole event. Tell each other who would be an interesting person for you to talk to (a specific name, function or profile) and look for ways you can introduce each other.
  • Be prepared to answer, “And what do you do?” but also ask others the same question. Why? Because you create goodwill with the other person, and you will discover stories about you and your business will appeal the most to the other person.
  • Don’t sell. Now is not the time. You need to tell people what you do, so they can talk about you to others in their network.
  • Ask someone who is in sales or is a business owner: “How can I recognize a good prospect for you?” Then, paint a clear picture of a good prospect for you to them.
  • If you have met someone with whom you want to continue the business relationship, make sure you follow up and schedule time in your agenda before you go to an event.

Sign up for The Lead and get a new tip in your inbox every day!

More tips:

Jan Vermeiren is the founder of Networking Coach, author of the bestsellers “Let’s Connect!” and “How to REALLY use LinkedIn” and a well-known international networking and referrals speaker. With his team at Networking Coach, he works for international companies such as Alcatel, Deloitte, IBM, ING and Nike. For more information, go to his blog at http://www.janvermeiren.com/. To get your free mini version of the book “How to REALLY use LinkedIn,” go to www.how-to-really-use-linkedin.com.